By: Melinn Phifer
For 10 years mobile technology has taken over the way we communicate and do business but with new technology comes higher customer expectations. Consumers want their personal technology to align with their shopping experience and businesses are struggling to keep up with their expectations.
Some businesses are leading the way in paving this change in traditional shopping by focusing on “engaging customers wherever they are - whether online or in-store". One such technique is known as “line busting”.
Line busting is defined as, “Meeting customers wherever they are in the physical store in order to complete the sales transaction.” Mobile transaction technology (mPOS systems) allows line busting to occur by letting the consumer to check out anywhere in the retail store, or, similarly, pay the restaurant bill right when the check is brought to the table, immediately and seamlessly.
Business owners and managers see the value in investing in mPOS systems due to the immense benefits of cost savings, time savings and increased customer loyalty.
The planning begins far before the mPOS systems are actually released but major retailers such as “Apple, the Home Depot, and Nordstrom have already deployed mPOS technologies." Businesses choose to invest in mPOS systems because they cost less and seem to be faster than the regular POS system. Urban Outfitters found that iPads cost about “one fifth as much as cash registers” and they haven’t bought a cash register since 2011.
Line busting using mPOS systems lets a store operate efficiently because store associates can use the mobile point of sale system for not just sales but also customer service, transactions, and inventory checks.
When contemplating bringing in a mPOS system, a business must think about the amount of employee training required and the ease of use. In restaurants, mPOS frees up time for the staff by eliminating the time of dropping off the check and returning to the table to collect the payment, processing the payment and walking back to the table to return the receipt - which turns tables several minutes faster.
In retail, customer satisfaction increases due to the ease of the fast check out and quick inventory update, leaving the customer with a pleasant, positive experience.
Line busting isn’t limited to retailers and restaurants - Alaska Airlines, among others, have implemented systems that allows the consumer to check in, print their own baggage tags and tickets straight from a kiosk. When the customer is done at the kiosk, an airline employee scans the luggage tag. This expedites the process for travelers by reducing the obvious chokepoint at the check-in counter - and also reduces staffing requirements for the airline.
In order for mPOS systems to run seamlessly, reliable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is required. A major concern before implementing a new system is, “how to integrate it into technology infrastructure, without interfering with legacy systems” such as their current POS system. Retailers must consider the “hardware’s form factor, user interface, processing speed, and memory size”. Supporting operating systems such as iOS, Android Windows must be considered as well. Also, the system should be evaluated on what it needs to do and “what types of interfaces between the other software programs may be required.” Factors such as ease of use, durability, size, battery life, connectivity and security also need to be taken into consideration.
Line busting, using mobile POS devices allows smoother and faster transactions - something every consumer is looking for. Implementing an mPOS system is a worthwhile investment that businesses should aggressively pursue.
For more information, click here for the white paper “Line Busting as a Mobile Transaction and Service Strategy” by Epson.